LOOKING BACK to the week of November 20 to 26, fifteen years ago...

A D-DAY veteran awarded the RAF's highest honour gave pupils a history lesson, in November 2008.

Len Broadhurst, then 86, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exploits during the Second World War.

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A veteran of 33 missions in a Halifax Bomber, he flew in support of the Allied storming of Europe on D-Day in 1944.

His wartime sorties also included flights over Berlin, Kassel and Stuttgart as he completed a tour of duty as a pilot and captain.

He told pupils at Alne Primary School, near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, of his wartime adventures on a visit to RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York.

He said: "I was one of the lucky ones; lucky to have had a damn good crew. I didn't win the DFC, they did. I wear it on their behalf."

He joined up aged 21 and flew with 78 Squadron from Linton-on-Ouse. On June 4, 1944, the bomber crews were flying over Normandy.

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Mr Broadhurst said: "We had suspected that something was going on because my crew had been stood down the day before. At the time, no one had any idea that it was D-Day. To us it was just another mission.

"Looking down through the broken cloud we could see all the ships and boats making their way to France.

"We had already noticed more aircraft than usual flying that day. I thought 'blimey, something really is going on today'."

Pupil Charlie Baker, eight, said: "We all enjoyed today. Apart from sitting in the planes, the best bit was listening to Mr Broadhurst tell his stories."

An early soft toy figure of Mickey Mouse went on show at The Bowes Museum to coincide with the Disney star's 80th anniversary, in November 2008.

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The Barnard Castle museum's figure was a typical example made by the British Dean's Rag Book Company Ltd in 1930.